Antonio Sanchez of 1993 UPLB rape-murder case to get out soon – DOJ

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Tuesday, August 20, that convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez may get out of Bilibid soon because of a reduced prison term.

"Isa sa mga magbe-benefit doon ay si Mayor Sanchez daw, kasi matagal na rin siyang nakulong, pati siya mae-entitle doon sa computation ng good conduct time allowance (GCTA)," Guevarra said in a phone interview with reporters on Tuesday.

(One of those who will benefit is Mayor Sanchez, who, because he has been in jail for a long time, will be entitled to the computation of good conduct time allowance.)

Sanchez, then-mayor of Calauan, Laguna, was convicted in 1993 for the rape of University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) student Mary Eileen Sarmenta. Sanchez was also convicted for the double murder of Sarmenta and her boyfriend Alan Gomez.

Sanchez hogged the headlines during his trial for displaying an eccentric character. He was sentenced to 7 terms of reclusion perpetua, or a maximum of 40-year imprisonment terms, but to be served simultaneously.

In 2013, then-president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III signed Republic Act (RA) 10592 that provided for new guidelines on how to compute good conduct time allowance as basis for reducing prison terms.

The Aquino government issued Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) that said the law shall be applied prospectively only, or to those who were meted out sentences after the law was passed.

On appeals of Bilibid inmates, the Supreme Court on June 25 this year declared that the law would be applied retroactively. The decision was penned by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, who is vying to be chief justice.

Guevarra said thousands will benefit, and that the release of such inmates may happen in the next two months.

Guevarra said that this can no longer be appealed.

"Magbe-benefit din ang penitentiaries natin dahil magkakaroon ng decongestion dahil 'yung mga puwede nang lumaya because of good conduct makakalaya na kaagad," Guevarra said.

(Our penitentiaries will benefit because of the resulting decongestion, those who can be set free because of good conduct will be released.)

Guevarra said the release will not affect the civil liabilities that arose from the criminal convictions. The convicts will still have to complete payment of the damages due the victims or their families. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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